HQ: Did you have to be dragged in front of the camera or were you excited? Whose idea was it for you to go in front of the camera?
EH: The casting director, Sharon Bialy, called me and said, ’Hey! We have this part and really want you to play it.’ And I said, ’Yeah’. It was David Mamet’s idea. Mamet wrote that episode and he wrote that part for me.
HQ: Was it a good experience for you?
EH: Oh yeah! I enjoyed it greatly. You know, the soliloquy was almost a page. This character is old Army. He’s a recruiter. But if you look closely, you’ll see something that tells you he had been in Delta Force. So this takes place in the early to mid 80’s. Probably 82,83 or 84. So the way I portrayed it, thought of it was it was me after I left Delta and went into recruiting. And this recruiter is probably keeping an eye out for potential Delta candidates. So he zeros in on this kid. (a young Tom Ryan).
HQ: What was the day of shooting like for you?
EH: It was the last day of shooting that episode and the last day before Christmas break. Sharon told me what the part was like, sent the script to me. So the first thing I did was look at it and find out what year is it, what the part is. I sent my friend, Darryl Levine, the Wardrobe Master, my list of what should be this guy’s uniform-what he’s going to wear on his uniform to correspond to what I was at that time.
So I go in, get my fitting, practice my lines for my part and it feels good. He wrote it, I’m sure, knowing my speech pattern and how I talk, the emphasis I place on things. I get there and my trailer is all set-everything waiting there for me.. As a matter of fact, the only thing I brought were my old dress uniform shoes. I’m at base camp, saw my friends, dibbled around a little bit. But I got in uniform and walked to the set which was a block away. I hung out with my friends and the director. They were doing an outdoor scene. We then move inside to the set. I wanted to get a feel for it-where my marks were.
The director comes in and we do a rehearsal for marks, see what the movement is and then step outside and the lighting guys come in and light it. We then came back in and do a rehearsal for camera and we shoot it. We started shooting at about noon or 12:30 and we had it shot by lunch and lunch that day was at about 2 or 2:30.
The great thing was that the guys came in that day. Dennis wasn’t working that day. He came in purposely to be on the set with me. Robert Patrick came in early. Max was there, Michael was there. So it was a great thing between takes to have my friends sitting right there. Cast and crew.
HQ: What differences were there between working behind the camera and in front of it?
EH: It’s different sides of the same coin. I’ve spent so much time on sets with every department: pre-production, with the actors and directors, in particular, action scenes. Setting them up, lining up the shots. I comprehend what the actor wants to do to achieve the effect of what we’re looking for. As a writer of scripts and novels, I see it first. I see my characters. I see my set. I know what I want them to do. At what point they speak. So it’s in your mind-you know what a director wants.
I’d like to think that I moved the filming along quickly. You don’t waste time, no screwing around because you’re burning everybody’s energy . It’s a long, long day on the set.
HQ: What is the happiest memory you recall from your collaboration with The Unit?
EH: When Les Moonves said, ‘I wanna do it.’ Those were his words when we were pitching the series.
HQ: What do you think was the most important thing you taught them?
EH: What the world they were portraying is like. This pretty clandestine world they are in.
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